|May 04, 2012 News
|eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month - Phil DeLaO - April 2012
| DeLaO scored two dominating wins at the SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals in the large TaG Senior division|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
In a continued effort to highlight the many outstanding performances by drivers around the country, eKartingNews.com is proud to introduce the ‘Driver of the Month’ program. Each month, the staff at EKN will determine the one driver who stood out above the rest and give the viewers a chance to know exactly what they accomplished and who they are.
The 2012 season thus far has been a stellar run for Arizona driver Phil DeLaO. The 19-year old has returned back to the sport full time after a limited schedule last season that included some racing in Europe. Returning with Top Kart USA, DeLaO was a front-runner in the Gatorz Challenge of the Americas, earning the Senior Max championship and a spot on the Team USA squad for the Rotax Grand Finals in Portugal come November. Moving to the SKUSA Pro Tour last month, Phil put in a dominant performance in his series debut to sweep the weekend against a field of 43 drivers, earning him the title of eKartingNews.com Driver of the Month for April 2012.
The 2012 Superkarts! USA Pro Tour kicked off with the MG Tires SpringNationals at the PKRA Formula K Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona. While the circuit was DeLaO’s home track, he still had to compete against a strong TaG Senior field that included many returning stars from 2011, led by the top three in championship chase a year ago. Phil began Round #1 with a statement, qualifying on the pole position with a 45.011-second lap that was over three-tenths quicker than the next fastest time. He then went wire-to-wire in the heat races, with wins by four seconds and two seconds. The 20-lap main event was uneventful for DeLaO, posting consistent fast laps of the race to score his first Pro Tour feature victory by over eight seconds.
The following day for Round #2 began with Phil posting an even quicker time in qualifying for the pole position, a 44.723-second lap. As the only driver into the 44-second bracket, he earned the P1 grid position by just under three-tenths. The opening heat race matched Saturday’s, winning by over two seconds. The second 10-lap run saw DeLaO get his first challenge. Edged out for the lead through the opening corners, Phil fell to the third position by lap three. Quick to return the favor, DeLaO retook the positions he lost to gain the lead once again, driving away to a one-second win. With a better start in the main event, the Top Kart driver drove away to victory number two of the weekend by a 2.3-second margin.
Phil had these comments when learning about becoming the EKN Driver of the Month, “I would like to start by saying the success I have had these last few months would not have been possible without God guiding me and the support of my family, friends, sponsors, and tuners. My family has always stood behind me and continues to be there for me not just in racing but my everyday life. My dad has taught me to stay true to myself and give 110% in everything I do and for that I am truly grateful. My long time tuner Ariel Castro has been with me since January of 2008, we have had amazing success together because we share the same drive to be the best we can be everywhere and every time. Wesley Boswell, Mike Tetreault, and Mike Speed have worked with me recently as well and their winning mindsets and belief in me have shaped the way my season has gone thus far. I have taken a few years off of karting and started working in the family business that my Grandfather started back in 1966. It is here where I have gained confidence in who I am and what I can do which is something I can apply anywhere I go. I look forward to the races to come and the challenges to be faced.”
The remainder of the 2012 season will see DeLaO fight for the SKUSA Pro Tour championship at the SKUSA SummerNationals in Utah, compete for more titles at the Rotax Grand Nationals and Pan American Challenge as well as the RoboPong 200 at New Castle in October. All of that will be followed with a trip to Portimao, Portugal for the Rotax Grand Finals on November 28-December 1.
April 2012 EKN Driver of the Month - Phil DeLaO
| Phil DeLaO - EKN Driver of the Month - April 2012|
(Photo: On Track Promotions - otp.ca)
Hometown: Peoria, AZ
Marital Status: Single
Height/Weight: 5’10’’ / 145lbs
Education: High School Graduate
Occupation: Following the footsteps of my father in becoming a marketing director in the family business.
Chassis: Top Kart
Engine/Engine Builder: Rotax- AM- Engines, Leopard – P1 Engines
Sponsors: Family, AM- Engines, Grand Products, Northwest Floor and Wall Company, Top Kart, Bridgestone, Peoria Cleaners.
Series You Compete In: Gatorz Challenge of the Americas and SKUSA Pro Tour
Years Karting: 11 years.
How did you get started in karting? When I was younger my dad was racing cars as a hobby and I would occasionally get to travel with him and watch him race. After a short while he bought me my first kart and I have been driving ever since.
What has been the high point in your racing career? I would say the high point was in 2008 when I had the opportunity to represent the United States in the Rotax Grand Finals in La Conca, Italy.
What are your goals in racing? My goals are to do the best I can and enjoy the time with friends, family, and sponsors while I can.
In a few words, how would you describe your driving style? I would describe my driving style as smooth but aggressive.
Favorite Track: New Castle Motorsports Park
Favorite form of professional motorsports: Formula One
Favorite karting driver: Ayrton Senna
Favorite movie: The Blind Side
Favorite music/group: Country
Favorite food: Pasta
The Real Deal
What do you do when not at the track? I am in marketing in the family business and work full time.
What are your goals outside of karting? To become the next CEO of the family business
What type of street car do you drive? Ford Mustang
What type of street car would you like to drive? The new 2013 Viper SRT
What do you think could be done to improve the sport of karting? Karting can use a fresh set of eyes.
What are your favorite aspects about the sport of karting? My favorite aspects about karting would be the way it can make you grow as a person. Being surrounded by adults at a young age can do two things; help you learn some of what to do and not to do. Karting also helps you to become more mature by being involved in decision making, learning how to deal with pressure given by yourself and others, and seeing the values in doing things. One of the best aspects in karting is the bonding time you spend with your family. I know that it has helped me to have an amazing bond with my dad. That I would not trade for the world.
April 2012 Driver of the Month - Honorable Mention:
- Joey Wimsett: SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals - S1 Round #1 winner (only second start in class)
- Paul Bonilla: SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals - TaG Master double winner
- Luke Selliken: SKUSA Pro Tour SpringNationals - TaG Junior double winner
- Phillip Orcic: WSK Euro Series - KZ2 Feature winner and championship leader